That time an event went TOO well. Or, Thanks, Facebook.

That time an event went TOO well. Thanks, Facebook. 

This has taken me two years to write and even now, I feel very emotional about it. I wasn’t sure I’d ever write anything about this event. It was the day I almost quit organizing events and the day that I realized I was meant to do this. I learned about 100 lessons that day about operating a business.

Vendor Events can be hit and miss when it comes to attendance. You just never know if all the work you have put into an event will pan out until the day of the event and the customers start rolling in. Until that moment, you second guess every move you have made. Did I book the right vendors? Did I do enough advertising? Did I advertise in the right places? You get the drift. 

Let me tell you about an event that went TOO well. How can that be? How could an event go too well? Keep reading, dear friend. It is the day that I call the best and worst day of my business life. 

I booked an event at a new venue and I was excited at the prospects of what this event would turn out to be. I had been thinking about organizing an event in this city for ages and it was finally coming together, until it went kablooey (is that a word?). 

I’m going to gloss over the months of event preparation with the exception of one facet and that is Facebook. I created a Facebook event as I do for all events. I’m still learning about the magic of algorithms and whatever Facebook does behind the scenes in order to select an event to showcase to the world. For all I know, they let a group of caffeinated adults throw darts at 30 different events and choose one to feature in the area. 

A couple of months before the event I noticed that the numbers of people who had marked interested or going were starting to climb rapidly. Facebook picked it up and made it a Featured Event. That made me feel excited because it was growing by the hundreds every day and steadily into the thousands. I posted about how exciting it was because the interest was in the tens of thousands and people posted that they were going to come to the event and share it with their friends. 

Now, let me say this – I had hoped that 1,000 people would turn up at the event. I’d have been thrilled as that would have broken my attendance record, so I encouraged people to share their event with friends and family and local connections. Eventually over 60,000 people were interested in the event (insert excitement and panic attack here) never thinking that that many people would actually turn up, they just marked it as interested in but wouldn’t actually come. Y’all, instead, it went VIRAL

The morning of, it’s raining and cold. The vendors are rushing between raindrops to get their product unloaded and get their cars parked. The venue had helped me coordinate extra busses to transport people back and forth from the overflow parking to the event space, just in case we needed them. Everyone is excited to be there and then…..

We opened the doors at 9 am and all.hell.broke.loose. 

People were coming in by the hundreds. The driveway and road leading to the venue was backed up and there were people who sat in their car for two hours in order to park and get into the venue. My greeters were literally running to keep up to welcome people into the event and hand out shopping bags. People were frustrated and tired and wet before they even set foot into the space or they were excited and treating it like this was a big party. We stopped counting how many had come through after 5,000 because we just couldn’t keep up. 

The shopping commenced. Vendors were running out of product two hours into the event and calling friends and family for backup product. It was the best day of their lives. Practically all of them left completely out of stock. Many shoppers left very happy. 

The others shoppers had a very different view – even though they chose to come to a free event at an upscale venue, they were angry. This is it? One room? Only 100 vendors? I came for THIS?  Let me say, I was very transparent, as I always am, about the participating vendors at the event, but they had built it up to be something completely different other than a vendor event. 

They all took to social media to vilify me as the worst person on the planet. Comments rolled in by the hundreds and all I could do was to shut off the commenting feature on the event and then hand my phone to someone else to delete the comments on the event that were horrible because they were the most vile things I had ever read. That’s what almost broke me. People were SO angry because they didn’t have what they had expected it to be and what 60,000 other people had expressed interest in. 

In this case, Facebook grabbed onto the event and it taught me one hell of a lesson. Making sure you know your audience, for one and marketing directly to them in order to bring in the right people. It can take an event and make it amazing or an absolute disaster and depending on the person – the event can be a massive success or a huge failure. 

It also taught me what I’m made of. It was the worst day of my business life. That was not my only event that season and I contemplated cancelling everything and just quitting my business. After a day, the comments started to go away and it seemed easier to press on with the next events. The rest of the events went very well and despite this huge massive mountain of a bump in my business, it pushed it to the next level and it has encouraged me to keep going with events because it is truly my passion – to help small businesses with growing their businesses. 

I’m still going……

12 thoughts on “That time an event went TOO well. Or, Thanks, Facebook.”

  1. I know which event you were talking about. I will never do business with that resort again. The resort did not live up to their promises. The show was the best I had ever done. Although there were people lined up at my table, they were all polite and patient. It was a great show and it was not your fault that there was such traffic in the parking lot. People who make derogatory remarks should be ashamed of themselves. Stacy, you could not pay me enough to do what you do. Keep up the good work and I am happy that you didn’t let the stupid, ignorant remarks affect your career. I know that consultants get impatient because you have a lot of the same vendors over and over. With that being said, you appreciate your LOYAL vendors. You know they will show up, be happy, not complain and will do a great job.

    Like

  2. As an event coordinator myself, I feel ya girl! You take so much of your time to make something successful for the vendors and never know how it will go. Each person that made a horrible comment has NO idea what it takes to organize a show and no matter what you do, you can’t make everyone happy, you are not a taco 😉 Sending good vibes for your future shows!!

    Like

  3. I have only been with you, for about 1 year now, but I have to say, you are the best organizer I have worked with. you are super hard working and your patients with vendors and guests, is remarkable. I don’t know if I could do that. I am sure I couldn’t.
    please keep up the great work you do, I know I am not the only one, that greatly appreciates it !
    Very blessed to be able to be a part of your business.
    thank you for all you do

    Like

  4. I remember that event, and man was it busy! You handled it as best as you could Stacy, and did a great job in the process! Glad you’re still doing Events By Stacy! To hell with anyone who says you’re not a great event organizer! You always put 100% into all your events! That’s why we keep coming back year after year! This my 3rd or 4th year with you, and I’m riding with you until the wheels fall off! 😘😘😘😘😘😘

    Like

  5. I remember that event and the craziness and the people non stop for 5 hours. Yes I ran out of product in 2 hours was taking orders and shipped the product to them. You also had to deal with a guest who had a seizure I do believe. You have gone above the call of duty and you put together wonderful great events. Don’t let Facebook or other vendors tell you differently. I have been doing shows with you for over 10 years and I know the work and the dedication you have to always put together a professional show Keep up the great work.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s